Knowing your life purpose makes life more meaningful and fulfilling. It gives you the “Why” to look forward to in your day, in your work and in your life overall. Knowing your true values can point you in the direction of your purpose, they underpin meaning. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the nightmare of the “routine” – Wake up, go to work, come home, eat, take care of “stuff”, go to sleep…repeat. How dull. How painful! Life is meant to be an adventure of growth and learning, not clinging to a mediocre life and then you die. How sad. Thank goodness for the power of choice, the power to change. While change can feel scary and uncomfortable, it is what adds spice to life. Besides, that – it’s unavoidable!
So why do we so often fall into miserable ruts and get stuck, yet are afraid of “change”? A huge part of it is conditioning. Sure, there is the element of “danger” in the unknown, but Mother Nature has given us the tools to cope and innovate. Our brain is amazingly adaptable and it is leads us to “self-fulfilling prophecy”. This is part of the problem – we believe change is scary and hard, so “be it unto you as you believe”. We have trained our brain to focus on what we don’t want and fear…and we sometimes find get it.
Happiness is a perception that is subject to how one sees life, how one interprets their circumstances. Brain research essentially shows we create our “reality” by assigning the meaning to our lives. Research shows that our ability to create and manage positive emotions is one of the foundations for success (and happiness) in business and life.
Whether or not we are happy is often not so much about what we do or how much money or associations we have as it is about the level of self-awareness we have to engage our mind and heart in our activity. While there are studies that connect happiness with better health, meaningful relationships and meaningful work – the key is “meaningful”. What does it mean to you?
Judging how materialistic our society is and how little attention is given by our educational system to develop the unique talents and interests of individuals, we still believe that happiness is outside of ourselves. We continue to “look for love in all the wrong places”. We still believe that we can “do” happiness, or “get” happiness through more “stuff”.
Business and material “success” does not necessarily make us happy. If it did, Americans should be some of the happiest people in the world. Polls have actually shown quite the contrary and we have frighteningly high rates of depression, obesity, debt and disease despite high-income levels. The answer lies in realizing that the path to happiness is an inner journey.
It’s not that having things is bad; it just that when we associate our identity with them, they have us – we get stuck.
When we can truly love and compassionately accept who we are, independently of what we “do” then we can “be” more joyful and fulfilled as we do our work in the world. The happier and more at peace that we are, the more likely we will be prosperous and healthy. Our choices are more likely to be done with clarity and with less effort and “hard work” (“hard” is mostly due to resistance, versus “flow”). When we recognize that our minds are conditioned to focus on what we fear or don’t want, we can learn to “retrain our brain” to change our focus of attention.
…I change my mind. Seasons change. And you have a birthright and choice to change yours too when it is expedient to do so. It’s not about what you believe as “right or wrong” as much as is it expanding your sense of “self-actualization” (as Maslow would have said) compassion, love, purpose and meaning – for yourself and those you interact with.
Does it expand your light and your vision for your life or does it keep you in the darkness of fear?
Beliefs are simply thoughts with feelings that get wired into our body/mind and color our perception of our self and our life. Then they become our habits and habits can create “blind spots” – even “cataracts of the soul”. (Must be the eye surgeon in me). These are misperceptions that can keep you from seeing your true potential. As Warren Buffet is to have said:
“The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”
Habitual ways of thinking can make or break your business endeavors, your personal and business relationships, your influence and even your health. Fortunately, habits can be broken easier when you are more self-aware. You are not just a victim of circumstances. No, your circumstances are the result of your true beliefs, i.e., the way that you think and feel.
We are conditioned to believe (there’s that word again) that we should never change our minds – that just because we were “raised that way”, we have to cling on to the beliefs and values of others, even though it doesn’t feel authentic. This will keep you from being, “YOU, Magnificently”. You are created with a particular purpose and uniqueness that no one can fully replicate. If you are able to let go of the beliefs that keep you imprisoned in your mind, you will be able to bring forth your gifts and talents that are meant to impact your world, maybe even “The World” in a highly visible and public way. Both ways are important to the whole of humanity. No one is insignificant.
Innovation, setting goals, creating a new vision…. these are things that we on the surface say we want in both business and life. Yet, in order to bring in something new, we need to update or even let go of the old. “Pack rats” have so much clutter because they don’t know how to let go.
Let’s get even closer to home…you may have a cluttered desk, closet – or mind – because you don’t understand the power of letting go. Life is in constant motion. Yet we fear change. Our emotions are in constant motion. Emotion is “energy in motion”. Yet, we cling to our belief that we need to “control” or repress them.
Granted, we do need to understand how to manage change, emotion – and clutter – with wisdom. We can’t learn and apply more efficient ways of being in our lives as long as we cling to the past, to our old beliefs and memories. Science is even substantiating that our experiences, our “reality” is based on the meaning that we assign to the “facts of life”.
As we embark upon the New Year, understand that there is nothing “wrong” with you or your life. What you experience is just the outcome of a series of thoughts, feelings and actions. We generally get just what we have kept our attention on with feelings over the past days, weeks, months and years. In order to get to the next version of your self, your life, you will need to let go of some things. You will have to consciously choose different thoughts, feelings and actions to get a different outcome.